Feeling anxious is a common experience that can be adaptive in small doses. For example, when you are facing the due date for a class project, anxiety motivates you to do the work so that you can finish it on time. However, anxiety that becomes disproportionate to your circumstances can be debilitating. Anxiety that interferes with academic or social functioning may require professional help.
Symptoms of Anxiety
Anxiety can manifest in physiological, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral symptoms. These symptoms may be a cue to recognizing that you are feeling anxious. When these symptoms are impacting your ability to function, it may be indicative of an anxiety disorder and may be helpful to seek professional assistance.
Shortness of breath
|Feeling out of control
|Avoiding uncomfortable situations
Excessive checking of behaviors
Use of alcohol, food, sex, etc. to cope
Mind going blank
The Difference between Anxiety and Stress
Anxiety is often confused with stress. Anxiety is a normal response to situations in which a person is overwhelmed with uncertainty, trouble, danger, and/or fear. We often experience anxiety as one or more of the symptoms listed above. Stress refers to the demands on our life (both good and bad) that can deplete our emotional, financial, time, and energy resources. In periods of significant stress, it is common to experience heightened anxiety. However, stress does not need to be present for an individual to experience anxiety.
- Try to get enough sleep, nutrition, and regular exercise.
- Practice yoga, meditation, deep breathing, and relaxation exercises to reduce anxiety.
- Set realistic expectations for yourself and accept that you will not always meet those expectations.
- Talk about your anxiety with people who care about you.
- Accept that not everything is in your control and let go of things outside of your control.
- Engage in positive and realistic thinking patterns based on objective facts rather than assumptions or fears.
- Learn to say “no” so that you don’t overcommit yourself.
- Schedule times for relaxation, socializing, and fun into your week.
- Learn how to deal with criticism and allow yourself to be imperfect.
- Decrease your intake of caffeine, nicotine, or other stimulants, which can often increase anxiety.
- Decrease your alcohol intake, which interferes with sleep.
- Focus less on outcomes and more on your experience or what you are learning.
- Engage in physical activity to help decrease anxiety.
- Seek professional assistance. Consider utilizing the options listed within the Services tab.
- The Counseling Center offers a number of services geared toward exploring, processing, and managing concerns with anxiety, including:
- Anxiety Toolbox workshop series
- Short-term individual counseling
- General Therapy and Creating Confidence groups
- To begin any of these services, please first schedule an intake appointment.
Anxiety and Depression Association of America
Tips to manage anxiety and stress
Anxiety in College Students
Information on how college students experience anxiety
Anxiety Resource Center, Inc.
Information and helpful links for a variety of anxiety-related concerns
Overview of Social Anxiety Disorder and Social Phobia
Information on symptoms, self-help, and treatment for social anxiety
Guide for Students with Psychiatric Disabilities
Information for college students struggling with mental illness
Critical Mental Health Resources for College Students
A complete guide with information and online/in-person resources for college students
Conquering Your Fear
5 tricks for overcoming fear
Help Guide’s description of various relaxation techniques you can try on your own
Comprehensive Workbook for Managing Worry
CCI’s Workbook (10 Modules) on understanding the experience of worry and learning to manage it
Comprehensive Workbook for Learning to Tolerate Distress
CCI’s Workbook (4 Modules) on learning to accept and deal with distressing experiences
Comprehensive Workbook on Dealing with Panic
CCI’s Workbook (12 Modules) on understanding and managing panic symptoms
Comprehensive Workbook on Social Anxiety
CCI’s Workbook (12 Modules) on understanding and managing social anxiety
Comprehensive Workbook on Managing Health Anxiety
CCI’s Workbook (9 Modules) on understanding and managing health anxiety
Apps for Anxiety
- Anxiety Coach (iPhone only)
- Worry Knot
- Stop, Breathe, & Think
- Thought Challenger
- Self-Help for Anxiety Management
- nOCD (iPhone only)
- PTSD Coach
- Worry Box
- What’s Up
- ReachOut Worry Time
Apps for Meditation and Mindfulness
- Insight Timer
- Complete Relaxation Lite
- Universal Breathing
- Relax Melodies
- The Worry Cure by Leahy
- The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Bourne
- Mastery of Your Anxiety and Worry by Craske and Barlow
- Brain Lock: Free Yourself from Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior by Swartz
- Getting Over OCD by Abramowitz
- Stop Obsessing!: How to Overcome Your Obsessions and Compulsions by Foa and Wilson
- The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety by Forsyth and Eifert
- Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook by Davis, Eshelman and McKay